• Investment reached $391 billion in 2014, researcher says
  • Most funds went to renewables such as solar and wind

Global spending on projects to cut greenhouse gases and reduce vulnerability to climate change surged 18 percent last year as governments and investors stepped up green investments, the Climate Policy Initiative said.

Total expenditure rose to $391 billion in 2014 from $331 billion a year earlier, with almost three quarters of the cash raised and spent in the same country, the CPI said Monday in a report. About $292 billion of the cash went on solar parks, wind farms and other renewable energy projects, whose falling costs mean “investments are achieving more impact than ever before,” the San Francisco-based analysis group said.

The expenditure is still short of what the International Energy Agency says is needed for the world to restrict warming since pre-industrial times to the international target of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The IEA said last month that expenditure of $16.5 trillion from 2015 through 2030 would keep the planet on a path where the temperature goal can still be achieved. That works out to just over $1 trillion a year.

“Overwhelmingly, it is national self-interest that is driving climate action,” Barbara Buchner, a director at the CPI and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “While global investment in a cleaner more resilient economy is growing, so too is the investment gap between what is required for reducing emissions to within agreed limits and what is being delivered.”

The CPI said that about $25 billion was spent on adaptation measures to make countries more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more prolonged droughts. 

Of total spending, $148 billion was public money and about $101 billion of cash flowed from one country to another, according to the report. The CPI didn’t say how much of that was from developed to developing nations.

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